Sunday, March 28, 2010

Silverliningness Sunday

Happy silverliningness Sunday! I'm later than usual with my thankfulness-of -the-week posting mainly because...

It's been a beautiful spring day today. All day. We've been out playing, and not squandering it by sitting in front of the old computer!

That said, spring break week seems to have flown by. It was marked by snowstorms and sloth, and all in all, a pretty nice break.

I did have to work a couple of days, and I'm enjoying this online class of High Schoolers. We have two teachers for our online classes, and the teacher I'm cohorting with on this one is a fun personality. Totally effeminate, but in a can't-help-but-like-him kind of way. You girls know what I'm talking about.

And, as mentioned in the previous post, my box of Run With Lumber participation prizes are in. Run With Lumber is a month away, and I'm hoping for good weather. Memo to Mother Nature: another day like today would be nice.

Also this week, I had the finishing touches put on my tattoo. What? It wasn't finished already? No. That was just my initiation/virgin tattoo. The flower has grown. I was envisioning "pretty", and I think my artist captured that, but he also managed to incorporate a bit of an "untamedness" theme that I like. WHAT MY MOM AND DAD DON'T YET KNOW WON'T HURT THEM.

In movie news, we watched "Evolution". I'd never heard of it, but there it was in my recommendations. It was a fun family movie - well, our family liked it anyway...

Back to normal abnormalness tomorrow. I suppose that's good too.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Spring break is coming to a close. Another winter snowstorm came blowing in. Nice.

It was a mostly uneventful spring break, really, and so I'm feeling a little restless. I think I should take some lessons from Judy in planning and organizing a memorable spring break. But it wasn't without productivity. Got some work work done as well as some spring cleaning type stuff done around the house.

And I've also made a dent Run With Lumber preparations.

One action item on the list is procurring pesky participation prizes (aliteration!). This is no easy task. The prizes need to be (a) fun (b) cheap (c) not TOO special since each kid gets one just for showing up that day (d) cheap (e) non-gender specific (f) cheap (g) specific to "Run With Lumber" (h) cheap (i) different from prizes given within the last 6 years... and did I mention cheap?

A few weeks ago, I went on the hunt for just the elusive thing. I think I found appropriate junk prizes - from a local supplier no less. This week, a big box of them arrived.

Rather than describe them, I provide the following 20-second visual:

Ooh, we are partying now.


Friday, March 26, 2010


Happy Illustration Friday! This week's topic is a favorable "rescue". So, why not an old boot?

This boot has seen some action, rescuing left and right (well, actually just left I suppose...). Recue from boredom, from inactivity, from wet feet, from restlessness, from cabin fever, from boredom with suburbia... Rescue dog need a walk? Take her!

I'm reminded this week of my appreciation of go-anywhere footwear. A spring-break blizzard can't keep one down when there is loyal footwear chomping to be made useful.

Go forth. Be rescued.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

writing good

The fourth leg is there. I can see part of it. I don't, however, know if it is a girl coyote or a boy coyote. That would take more work.
Speaking of work, I'm about to grade some essays. Before starting my evaluations, I like to warm my brain up with a few basic rules. Join me?
1. Always avoid aliteration

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague.

4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

7. Foreign words and phrases are not apropros.

8. One should never generalize.

9. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

10. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

11. Don't be redundant, don't use more words than necessary, it's highly superfluous.

12. Profanity sucks.

13. Be more or less specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

16. One-word sentences? Eliminate!

17. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

18. The passive voice is to be avoided.

19. Employ the vernacular

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wily friends

Happy smack-dab-in-the-middle-of Spring Break! EVEN THOUGH THERE'S A FREAKING BLIZZARD! OUTSIDE...

Actually, I think the blizzardness is over. Now there's just a bunch of wet heart attack snow left behind. And this is pretty typical of March around here so I can't complain.

No, I'm still revelling in the fact that it is spring. We did change those clocks a couple of weekends ago, so my early morning dark runs are now darker dark runs.

Mouse Town is particularly dark. Recall that Mouse Town is the cultural hot spot along one of my routes where development is banned until a decision on whether or not the Preble Jumping Mouse is endangered or not.

I enjoy the wildness of it, the undevelopedness of it. This is the same area where I had my crazed deer incident of last summer. What's not to like?

Lately, I've been hearing the yipping of coyotes near Mouse Town. It's a bit intimidating, but popular opinion says that coyotes painstakingly avoid humans, so I'm trusting that the yippers know that I'm human and am to be painstakingly avoided.

And now that I've drawn one, we're like spirit friends or something..... right?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silverliningness Sunday

First of all, Happy Spring everyone! Even though we got hit with a snowstorm and temperatures in the teens, I DON'T CARE. The guy on the radio said that spring officially began yesterday at 11:30-something, and I'm going with it!

"generic bird of spring"

With the arrival of spring coincides spring break for the kids. As I previously mentioned, we have no biggie plans, but it's nice to have a break from the usual day-to-day.

On the work front, I finished off one class and started another this week. The class that just started is one of high school kids. While I've private tutored many a high school kid, this is actually my first classroom-full. All my other classes have been grad students, and these high schoolers are a real fun bunch - even when in a pack. Who knew?!

Meego's parent/teacher conference was positive, and that's typical for him. Conferences for Chaco and Wolfgang are optional, and we felt no need to confer this quarter for either of them. "Uneventful" can be a good thing.

We all know that I'm not a fan of driving, and this week, I'm thankful I didn't get stuck in any traffic jams. The week prior, I got stuck in two such jams, so I'm thankful for a traffic jamless week.

It's sunny and 40 degrees right now. I'm going out to play.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Hey, kids! What time is it? Yes, it's Illustration Friday time! This week's topic is the evil sounding "Expired".

The word brings up connotations of death, finiteness, mortality, and curdled milk...

So naturally, I submit a rather cartoony sketch of my digital timer.

This is one of several digital timers I have in my possession - standard issue for the Standardized Test preparation teacher, and often the bane of my students' existence.

During my training for this job, I was told that we were to operate more like coaches or trainers rather than like typical teachers. We train our students to peak, on one crucial day, in skills that they may never use again in their entire lives.

And they must do these things in a timely fashion.

Many of them already hate the test, and they hate the timer even more.

I will confess to taking a bit of delight in putting them through their time trials: "You have 35 minutes *GO!*"

Evil Zeroes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


It's eerily quiet here this morning. Or maybe just more noticeably quiet.

Spring break officially begins on Friday for the schools, but it unofficially begins tomorrow because all Meego has is a 20-minute parent/teacher conference. So I think the quiet is just the calm before the storm.

We don't have any particularly exciting plans for the break though. I have to work 3 days next week and Wolfgang has track practice on 3 days. I'm glad he's doing track, then I can't be guilted into being the sole party pooper who grounded us for spring break!

On that note, though, we do feel ripe for some sort of adventure. Magnum and I are on the cusp of a financial milestone, and we want to celebrate for a couple of reasons: (1) We feel it's a big deal, so we want to whoop it up, and (2) we want to demonstrate the rewards of being financially responsible to the kids. What better way to do that than to blow a bunch of cash on frivolous frolic?!!

Oh, wait....

Okay, we need ideas on responsible whooping-it-upness.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday and Happy Pi Day! So excited, it feels like I missed an hour of sleep last night!

It's been another week of thankfulness things, so I must recapitulate.

My schedule is quite full these days with work and VoMo-ism. Run With Lumber action items are being checked off of my list, and I've enlisted a crack team of helpers to help get 'er done!

On the work side of things, I attended a very beneficial workshop this week. We have these gatherings about two or three times per year, and they're always worthwhile despite my getting stuck in a traffic clog on my way to the big city.

These things are practically my only occassions to actually meet my co-workers in person! And what a bunch of lovable eccentric geeks they (we) are!

On that note, I got a raise this week too - YAY!

Okay, enough about paid employment. Meego had the day off on Friday and it was nice to just have a lazy day together - like the good old days.

I'm also still finding time for my art play. Worked on figure drawing this week. Way back in my college days, I took a figure drawing class - the PG kind, not the nude model kind. Some say we must learn the nude model in order to understand anatomy better in order to depict clothed models, thus the prevalance of "life drawing" classes with nudies.

But I think my way-back-in-my-college-days professor did a good job of filling in the blanks. Plus, I would've been way too flustered back then, in my late teens, to draw a live naked person!

In movie notes, we watched District 9. I found it strangely interesting and thought provoking and good for general entertainment purposes. Nothing too deep.

Now, onto Pi Day! I'm sure I will be joined in the celebration and enjoyment of all things round!

Friday, March 12, 2010


TGI Illustration Friday! This week's topic is a rather interesting "subterranean". I thought about that... hmmm... underground...? Well, it does also have connotations of "secret" and "hidden" stuff too.

So in light of this week's news about the friendly neighborhood "Jihad Jane", I decided to post this sleeping skinhead. So innocent looking except for the telling tattoo.

Even bad boys need to sleep.

This week's artsy excursions have all involved drawings of people. My favorite subject, actually.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday! I'm a little later than usual at getting to my silver liningness, but it's all good.

Firstly, the last of my family member checkups was completed on Monday. Got the cat all examined and vaccinated and freaked out. Good for one more year.

Meego went to a birthday party today. The place it was held at was a total DIVE the last time he was invited to a party there. I was reluctant to take him to this one, but it was for one of his good friends at school, so for that reason alone, he should go. The place has cleaned up its act from last time, and it looked like a good party all around. The other 3 invitees were all boys from Meego's class that I like, so I'm thankful that he's in such good company.

A friend of mine from high school, whom I have reconnected with on facebook, was trying to talk me into getting my nose pierced. I explained that I have a nose mole that would look weird next to a pierce stud, and took this photo to prove it to her. She's no longer trying to talk me into getting my nose pierced, and that's nice. Sheesh, get ONE tattoo....

Work is still busy, probably busier than I'd prefer. An incident this week reminded me that
I don't HAVE to work. I do this because I enjoy it, and that's a nice position to be in.

And another movie recommendation. We watched Rat Race this weekend which was a total hoot. Just pure stupid fun.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Happy Illustration Friday! This week's topic is "brave", so I chose this Smart car I did earlier in the week.

I'm not a particular fan of the Smart car. They just look like something for a parade... driven by a guy wearing a fez... or a clown nose. Their estimated 41 mpg is a bit of a yawner.

But the other day, I was driving home from the aforementioned Starbucks. Driving on the highway. And this Smart car went past me. On the highway. I don't see very many of these cars on the road as it is, but I'm pretty sure that's the first time I'd seen one on the highway, and in the passing lane even! It must have been going about 70 m.p.h.!

So it struck me as brave. Not particularly Smart, but maybe brave. This car that looks like a golf cart with a windshield, out there on the highway, running with the big dogs. In the passing lane even!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm now addicted to Starbucks green tea

Remember a while back I mentioned that I was conducting tutor sessions with one of my students at a McDonalds? Well we have since moved up in the world. Happy Meal hour became less appealling, and a few weeks ago, we moved up the road to a Starbucks. The whole tutor-at-roadside-establishment business strikes me as not the ideal, but I just blame it on him for living in the boonies...

Anyway, this Starbucks we've been meeting at is actually a pretty cool place for such things. In fact, I've noticed that many of the other patrons are there to study, conduct interviews, work on group projects, and .... blind meet up?

Maybe not so much the blind meet up part, I just experienced one such thing last week.

My student and I were sitting there, tuting away. He was doing a short quiz, and I was acting busy when I noticed a man walk in. He approached a woman who was sitting by herself.

She stood up, and they went through this, sort of, "Hi, I'm Jane. Are you Tarzan?" ritual (names have been changed). They hugged and each seemed a tad bit nervous. They then made their way out.

It seemed clear to me that the two were on a date. It also seemed clear that they had never met in person before. Possible internet dating match? Both were in their young 30's I'm guessing, nice looking enough.

My student was still quizzing away, so I watched as they left. Both had a bit of nervousness and unsureness in their expressions. One thing I noticed is that Jane, while not an overly large woman, was taller and just "bigger" than Tarzan. Again, she was attractive and appropriately dressed - jeans, leather jacket and boots, cute jewelry. Tarzan was a bit on the short side for a man and could've used a little more meat on his bones - just my own assessment - but a nice enough looking guy. He was also in jeans and a leather jacket.

I've heard some horror stories from people who have tried online dating sites, and this meet up I witnessed actually didn't look too bad. It struck me to wonder if the uneasiness I sensed in each of their faces was about the "size issue". Don't people give physical descriptions of themselves before meeting in real life?

Personally? Me? I prefer the man be taller than me. It's never been much of an issue since I'm 5'5". And, just to include an issue Jerry brought up recently, I also prefer that the man makes more money than I do. Not a big deal on that one and probably just my old fashionedness showing.

I'm wondering how others feel about these things. I'm also wondering how that date went.